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Looks like Dolphins lack leadership from top to bottom

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Wells report: Harassment details | Martin considered suicide | Coach involved | Racist messages | Incognito lawyer response | NFL, NFLPA, Dolphins to 'review'

There's a phrase that gets thrown around in NCAA investigations: "Lack of Institutional Control." It's based on what rules were in place and how those in charge of enforcing said rules did enforcing them. Generally speaking it refers to a situation where things have run completely amok and it often leads to the harshest of punishments.

If the Dolphins were a college, after the report released by Ted Wells on Friday, they might be facing the death penalty.

That's why what happened in Miami is even worse. It's a professional football organization, a billion-dollar business in a multibillion-dollar industry. And after reading Wells' report of what has happened in the Dolphins organization during the past few years, it makes you wonder who was minding the fort this whole time.

The tales of racism, sexual harassment, bullying, hazing and general unacceptable behavior from various members of the Dolphins roster -- and coaching staff! -- make it sound like the NFL's version of Lord of the Flies. A bunch of preschoolers put in charge of an island with zero discipline or responsibility for their actions and the core leadership group being the biggest part of the problem.

Want to point the finger at someone for all of this? The biggest problem isn't finding someone to blame. The biggest problem is making sure that there's enough blame to go around for everyone at fault.

The Dolphins' train wreck of a search for a new general manager makes a lot more sense now, what with Stephen Ross having little to no idea what was going on with his team. That's not entirely his fault. He's an owner but not "a football guy." However, he's a businessman and he understands how the chain of responsibility works. When you write the checks and you do the hiring, it's your responsibility to put people in place who will create a successful environment.

He didn't just miss on that, he failed badly.

The old GM, Jeff Ireland, should be glad he's gone. GMs pride themselves on being the metaphorical "CEO" of the organization they run. That's a good thing ... until your leadership fosters a culture that leads to the sort of debacle we learned about Friday. Read the report, connect the dots with the organization's treatment of Incognito and it's hard to believe everyone just missed all of this behavior.

It feels like the Dolphins, under Ireland's leadership, borderline encouraged this sort of behavior.

Look at Incognito being brought in, despite the team's scouts being "warned that Incognito's extensive history of discipline issues made him a serious risk." Point to Incognito being put on the team's Leadership Council. Gawk at Incognito being slapped on the wrist for repeated brutish off-field behavior.

There are way too many red flags to give Ireland and his front office a free pass.

And head coach Joe Philbin doesn't deserve one either. Philbin sure comes across as a good human being. But he either knew what was happening in his locker room, is bad enough at his job that he didn't know what was happening in his locker room, didn't care enough to stop what was happening or didn't think he could stop what was happening.

I'm not even sure which one of those is actually worse. None of them are worse than hiring -- and continuing to employ -- a coach who participated in the harassment of players.

There are charges of harassment. There are concerns about inappropriately racist behavior. There are vile things that were said to Martin about Martin's sister -- who none of his teammates actually know -- that shouldn't be said from one man to another.

From top to bottom, the culture is a mess. An owner who looks like he's in over his head. A general manager who looks like he wants the culture. A head coach who nearly broke his neck looking the other way. Assistant coaches who participated in hazing and harassment. A player on the Leadership Council who was in charge of consistently humiliating his teammates and "friends."

This isn't some rogue incident of a lunatic lineman going after another player in a joking manner. It's not a case of a grown man being unable to stand up for himself.

This is a cultural problem and it's a cultural problem that's indicative of a lack of leadership up and down the totem pole in Miami. Whatever semblance of leadership that was supposed to exist in Miami didn't and as a result the entire culture went to pot. Zero control, either from those participating or those enforcing.

No doubt there are lots of good guys on the Dolphins roster. But it looks like the one with the most power was the one in charge of the hazing.

The inmates were literally running the asylum. And the only people who could stop them either gave them the conch to begin with or didn't care enough to take it away.

 
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